INDEPENDENT NEWS

Capital development at HortResearch

Published: Fri 15 Oct 1999 12:16 AM
Confidence in the horticulture industry has seen HortResearch continue to invest heavily in the development of new knowledge, new cultivars and new technologies and the organisation has recorded another successful year as a Crown Research Institute.
HortResearch had a before tax operating surplus of $4.8 million against total revenue of $52.5 million. This surplus was an adjustment on the $6.2 million actually achieved due to a one-off adjustment in the valuation of staff entitlements such as long service leave and retirement leave which are now being calculated on an actuarial basis on the present value of expected future entitlements.
Chief Executive Ian Warrington said he was pleased that HortResearch continued to make significant contributions to horticulture in New Zealand. Continued growth across the many
diverse sectors in the industry has seen export receipts exceed a record high of $1.74 billion in
the past 12 months.
Investment of $5.4 million has been made in new research facilities and equipment and a further $14.1 million has been approved for more capital development in the current year. New facilities for manufacturing, biomedical and biological research were completed at the HortResearch Ruakura Research Centre and the Te Puke Research Centre has been extended to include a new laboratory, more office space and improved meeting amenities directed largely at serving the buoyant kiwifruit industry.
A major building development underway in Hawke's Bay involves a new $6 million complex to provide laboratory, office and support facilities.
Dr Warrington said that while HortResearch planned to be a profitable organisation, the investments in new facilities and equipment meant that staff have continuing opportunities to make original discoveries in all areas of research related to horticulture and allied industries.
"Our record for development of successful new fruit varieties is significant, and our research projects have made major contributions to sustainable production aimed at markedly reducing use of pesticides," Dr Warrington said.
HortResearch continues to be involved in advances in molecular biology and its scientists have developed the skills needed to ensure that New Zealand was able to evaluate the benefits arising from the new technologies in this emerging area of science. Examples of its immediate applications include the ability to identify fruit cultivars using DNA fingerprinting and the selective screening of progeny from conventional breeding programmes for disease resistance.
At the end of the 1998/99 financial year, well known citrus fruit grower and industry personality Roger Davies, completed nearly seven years as HortResearch Board Chairman, and has been replaced by Joe Pope, a past CEO of the Apple and Pear Marketing Board.
ends

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